We rode the waterside bike walking paths in Tampa this morning, beside me was Kevin Craft, who runs the only bike shop in the center of Tampa called City Bike Tampa.
I asked him what he thought about the coming municipal bike exchange, as is done in so many cities with bikes to borrow for short time rides. A bicycle rental business owner in Portugal a few weeks ago was telling me that he hated these municipal systems, as they cut into private businesses already renting bikes. But Craft sees it differently. He’s poised for a continued climb in business as more people turn to bikes to get around.
A bike and walking path is being extended to run more than 4 1/2 miles further, built above piers that have been built into the coast just next to the road.
“It gives them the drug, it converts them to biking. So I am all for it, he said.
The bike paths are wide down here, so wide, they’re more like plazas, or boulevards, but not paths. Sometimes they are 100 feet wide!
We pedaled on in the hot Florida sun as we past runners and bikers. “This is an outdoors type of city,” Kevin said, when I asked how Tampa compares with other cities. “St Pete has a more developed art scene, but they’ve gone as far as they can go. Tampa has more room to grow and develop new venues and art spaces.”
Kevin and I rode the Riverwalk, and he told me about how this magnificent trail was going to get even better. “they are adding 4 1/2 miles to the path, right by my shop and right on the water. We biked over to Davis Island, home to the most wealthy of Tampa’s elite where it was easy to ride without too many cars. We stayed on the path but then took a pretty side street since there were no cars driving past at that time of day.
Tampa’s Davis Island is a tranquil place to ride bicycles.
It’s encouraging to hear about a city with a population net increase, with more young people, more babies, and thus more prosperity. We are missing that in our state, and when you come to Florida it becomes too clear not to notice.